Workers under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees have shut down the headquarters of the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) at Alausa, to protest against maltreatment and arbitrary sack of staff.
The protest, which was led by the Chairman of the United Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, was also meant to address the issue of outrageous billing of customers.
Speaking with newsmen at the scene of the protest, Ajaero explained that the union’s agitation was two-pronged.
“The picketing is in two prongs. There is the issue of poor service or no service to Nigerians, and we have discovered that after five years that we fought for the state to take responsibility on power supply, after which they handed it over to the private sector, the private sector is not delivering services. They are charging for darkness.
“The second is the issue of the condition of services of workers. You will recall that some two years ago, a similar incident happened here over conditions of service and arbitrary sack of workers. Up till today, IKEDC still sacks people periodically, without conditions of service or enabling environment.
“So, we are here as workers to enforce the introduction of conditions of service and fair wages in every industry,” he said.
He disclosed to newsmen that efforts by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Lagos State Government to settle the rift between the union and IKEDC, was frustrated by the management of IKEDC as it pulled out and disbanded the negotiation
“At a stage, there was even a committee of the DSS, and IKEDC as a company that prides itself in dictatorship, disbanded the committee. So, they are not given to negotiation or attending to workers' welfare,” Ajaero explained.
Further decrying the treatment of staff by IKEDC, Ajaero said: “Most of the workers are being electrocuted because of poor equipment to work with and we have given notice on and on. Our members are being attacked by Nigerians because the company they serve is not ready to provide services; they are not even ready to provide meters.”
Also at the scene of the protest were labour leaders from other sectors, who vowed to carry on with the protest till their demands were met by the IKEDC management.